ECA’s overarching focus is to promote policies and programmes that strengthen the process of economic cooperation and integration in furtherance of the Abuja Treaty establishing the African Economic Community and the Constitutive Act of the African Union.
In that context, the Commission places particular emphasis on strategic studies that generate recommendations to advance the regional cooperation and integration agenda. For instance, the most recent edition of Assessing Regional Integration report tackles the Continental Free Trade Area as its theme.
The need to strengthen the negotiating skills and positions of African countriesin global and regional trade negociations particularly in the World Trade Organization is a major area of focus and ECA has evolved a number of trade-related capacity development and technical assistance programmes. Further, through the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), the Commission works closely with Member States to identify measures to increase the competitiveness of African economies to boost intra-African trade and their participation in international trade.
In the area of infrastructure, the ECAis sharpening its focus on innovative mechanisms to mobilize resources and address the financing challenge of Africa’s infrastructure, which has remained a priority issue in its Regional Integration Committees and Expert Group meetings.
Under the theme of regional integration and trade, ECA sees tremendous opportunities in providing policy-oriented research on the interplay and linkages between investment policy and the key drivers of regional integration, which are land, agriculture, food security, energy, infrastructure, trade and industrialization. See more of our work in this area here.
There is consensus that the transformation of agriculture needs to be accelerated in order to enhance food security and support the resilience of African small-holders to future shocks. ECA therefore assists Member States in the development and implementation of necessary transformative structural measures to meet the ever-growing demand for food. The inter-linkages between industrialization and agriculture to address the issues of value addition and strategic commodity chains (ERA 2009 & 2013) form part of the Commission’s research work in this area.
The issue of land and water management is also high on the Commission’s agenda. In this regard, it undertakes and disseminates strategic studies on land and water management issues to improve the capacity of member States in analyzing and managing policies to address the issues of land, water and regional integration in their interrelated nature.